Many of us are thinking more about our fitness goals with spring has just started, with a toned midsection topping the list. Sure, a solid and lean stomach looks fantastic. But it comes with tons of other benefits, too, like improved posture, less back pain, improved heart health, and more.
In addition to ab workouts, losing belly fat is crucial to this process. The first step to losing stubborn belly fat? Understanding how extra pounds pile onto that part of the body would be in the first place.
The science behind belly fat
Body fat is divided into subcutaneous (under the skin) and visceral (around organs). Belly fat accumulation of visceral fat around the abdominal organs, professional research for public domain, explains.
“There is now a realization that visceral fat cells secrete hormones, much like other endocrine organs in the body such as your thyroid or pancreas,” says the research. “Thus, what was once thought of as the accumulation of poor eating and lack of exercise has been shown to be metabolically active: a hormone secreted from visceral fat have far-reaching effects on other tissues in the body.”
The hormones secreted from visceral fat cause inflammation and coagulation in the body. This explains why people with large amounts of visceral fat are more likely to have diabetes, high cholesterol, and poor heart health.
The bottom line: visceral fat makes up only a tiny proportion of body fat, but it is a critical player in various health problems, the research explains. To lose belly fat, you need to make visceral cells less active by eating healthier, exercising, and making other lifestyle changes.
How to lose belly fat
Ready to start losing belly fat? Here are 30 ways to make it happen.
1. Cardio aerobic exercise
To burn and reduce visceral fat, professionals recommend 30 minutes of cardio aerobic exercise a day.
Also, it’s essential to keep in mind that targeted exercise for the abdomen does not reduce visceral fat. In other words, crunches and sit-ups won’t help reduce belly fat. First, you need to eliminate the fat through cardio aerobic workouts, increasing your heart rate. Once the fat is gone, you can do sit-ups and crunches to tone the area.
2. Intermittent fasting
While fasting is a controversial weight-loss tactic, it is considered safe and effective when done correctly.
“Intermittent or Circadian fasting allows your system to reduce the excess glucose in the bloodstream and therefore reduce the amount of glycogen stored in your body (which manifests as fat), says Functional Medicine and holistic weight loss expert. “Fasting then utilizes your adipose tissue (your fat storage in your body which is there to be called on for energy) for energy for daily functioning and breaks down belly fat at the same time.”
3. Eliminate trans fats and simple carbohydrates
When it comes to fat formation, certain foods are worse than others. Trans fats, found in hydrogenated vegetable oils and fructose-sweetened foods, are particular culprits, it states.
Simple carbohydrates also lead to more fat accumulation. Your body packs away any additional unnecessary carbohydrates as fat and stores them around your organs.
4. Try a healthy carb cycle
While you should steer clear of simple carbs, not all carbs are bad. “Have certain days of the week where you allow for more healthy carbohydrates than normal (whole grains that are gluten-free),” research explains. “This will prevent the body from plateauing, causing variability to the system and expediting weight loss.”
5. Eat natural, whole foods
Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. “Your body can process foods that either has a mother or grow from the ground,” says the research. “Foods made in a lab without real ingredients are stored as belly fat.”
6. Read nutrition labels
Some foods claim to be low fat but are high in carbohydrates and other added sugars. Ultimately, it reduces the right kinds of fats and carbohydrates that can lead to visceral fat reduction, as they state.
“The consumption of more complex carbohydrates will lead to a sustained metabolism as opposed to the peaks and valleys that occur with simple carbohydrate consumption, which in turn leads to fat accumulation.”
As a general rule, avoid all processed foods.
7. Cut the sugar
Starches and grains break down into sugar (glucose). While these have beneficial factors for our bodies in small amounts, added sugar (sugar cane, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) does not. Excessive consumption of sugar gets stored as belly fat.
8. Keep track of your levels by measuring your waist circumference
This is an effective technique that will help you keep track of your progress. Measure your waist circumference at your belly button line. “In almost all people, it is more than their waist circumference at their belt, especially when they wear their pants below their stomach,” says the research. “Measuring at the belly button line is a much better indicator of visceral fat than the number of pounds on the scale.”
Incorporating healthy fat from properly raised animal products (grass-fed beef, antibiotic hormone-free eggs, fatty fish) as well as avocados, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds gives your body the nutrients it needs for brain activity and digestive function, as they explain. Small amounts of healthy fat at each meal are conducive for weight loss when not combined with sugar/starches.
10. Develop better sleep habits
Poor sleep hygiene in people who sleep five hours or less a night accumulated more visceral fat significantly. And in young people, sleeping over eight hours a night also leads to more visceral fat, so there is definitely a “sweet spot” for the proper amount of sleep to minimize visceral fat.
What includes then a balanced and healthy diet?
- Carbohydrates include starchy foods like bread, rice, pasta, caucus, potatoes, cereal, and oatmeal.
- Protein- It includes meat, fish, poultry, and all seafood s. Legumes and beans are also good sources of high protein.
- Vitamins- This includes vegetables in green, yellow, red, purple, or all the rainbow color is rich in vitamins.
- Minerals- Nuts and seeds are the best sources of minerals.
- Fats- Naturally extracted from vegetables, nuts, and beans are a good source of fats essential for your body.
- Fiber- All kinds of natural foods are sources of fiber, and it depends on how you prepare them.
12. Weight training
Loading your body with resistance causes muscle adaptation.“This adaptation results in your body burning more calories at rest (AKA a faster resting metabolic rate). Weight training will help you to burn more while at rest, in turn burning more belly fat.
13. Find healthy ways to reduce stress
Increased anxiety and stress also lead to higher amounts of visceral fat in the abdominal area. While stress was shown to affect subcutaneous fat, it does impact visceral fat, the research explains. Popular stress management techniques include meditation, journaling, yoga, and other types of exercise.
14. Cover half of your plate in vegetables
This will help increase your fullness, prevent overeating, encourage portion control, and help you get the nutrients you need, Brikho says. In doing so, you won’t be tempted to eat too many other higher-calorie foods, and as a result, it will be easier to lose belly fat.
15. Eat enough protein
Protein helps keep you full and prevents overeating later in the day. The specific amount of protein varies from person to person. How much do you weigh? It says it’s a good indicator of protein levels (in grams) to consume when focusing on physique and belly fat loss.
16. Walk more often
Mixing up your workouts is essential. And while it’s vital to keep cardio in your workout regimen, never underestimate the power of walking.
“If your body is constantly in a fight or flight state (overactive sympathetic nervous system), it will hold onto weight for protection,” says the research. “Increased stress hormones are secreted into the system, causing the body to hold onto weight. Moving the body in gentle, consistent ways such as walking helps to remind the body that it’s safe to calm down while moving about, reinforcing that a threat is not imminent; allowing for the release of fat for protection.”
17. Snack on healthy treats throughout the day
“Often, clients will tell me that they are feeling hungry throughout the day, which leads them to binge eat at their next meal,” Brikho explains. “Instead, incorporate a snack that combines a protein with either a fruit, vegetable, or carbohydrate.”
For example, she recommends one slice of whole-grain bread, peanut butter, and a banana. It will help keep you satisfied until your next meal, prevent overeating later in the day, and help you lose weight. It will ultimately lead to loss of belly fat.
You cannot lose weight if your body is not lubricated enough to excrete the toxins in your system, They explain. Half your body weight in ounces is the general rule.
19. Move your body in a fun way
While healthy eating primarily helps you lose belly fat, exercise will help you reach your goals sooner. Brikho suggests exercising for 30 minutes each day. “You don’t need to be doing vigorous activity daily to see results,” she says. “It could be something as simple as walking, doing squats during commercials while watching tv, gardening, or going for a bike ride. If it is fun and if you are enjoying it, then you are more likely to keep it up and, therefore, more likely to lose belly fat.”
The reason so many people struggle with weight loss is that they view it as a chore. But working out can be fun if you choose to see it that way.
20. Eliminate or reduce alcohol intake
Too much alcohol can disrupt liver function, responsible for filtration in the body. If your body is not correctly filtering, it can disrupt hormonal balance and belly fat.
21. Decrease calories in your coffee
Yes, plain black coffee can be tedious, but thankfully, there are ways to make it taste better without adding inches to your waistline. It recommends the following nutritious tips to make your coffee taste good and help you reach your weight loss goals:
- Add Manuka Honey, a great low-calorie, healthy alternative to sugar or other sweeteners, and it’s great to include in your daily coffee!
- Add 1 tbsp of coffee mate’s low-fat vanilla creamer to a cup of coffee for a delicious 25 calorie cup of coffee.
- Add almond extract and vanilla to your black coffee
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of cinnamon to your coffee with some steamed nonfat milk
22. Eat your meals at consistent times of the day every day
Consistency is vital to developing healthy habits and losing weight. When you eat simultaneously, your body can then start to regulate better and have a routine for digestion, as it says.
23. Eat out in a healthy way
While restaurants offer many tasty, not-so-healthy options (mainly in the takeout form right now), there are a few simple ways to cut calories.
“Eating out is fun, and you don’t need to sacrifice that to be healthy,” they explain. “You can share a plate with your friend, coworker, or family member while eating out, which will decrease your portion size.
Decrease your calorie intake, decrease your fat intake depending on what you ordered, and allow you to enjoy your favorite meals. still.”
Another helpful tip is ordering an appetizer that includes vegetables such as a salad, edamame, cucumber-wrapped sushi, or Brussels sprouts, for example. That will help you feel full and eat less during the main course.
Lastly, limit eating out to 1-2 times a week. “While we can eat out and lose weight, it is still important to remember that it is what we do more often that will impact our health and if we are eating out daily, it will make it more challenging to reach our goals.”
So, dine out (or order in) and enjoy your favorite foods, but do it in moderation.
24. Eliminate gluten
Even if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, it’s beneficial to cut it out of your diet. “Gluten can cause inflammation in the body, and too much can cause intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), which can cause food sensitivities and gut health issues,” as it state. “An unhealthy gut leads to weight gain and belly fat.”
25. Don’t go on a “diet.”
Remove the word “diet” from your vocabulary altogether.
“Most diets are restrictive, challenging to follow, and are unrealistic to keep up with long-term. “If you can’t keep up with it long-term, then often, your results won’t last long-term. Find something that you feel like you can do forever and something that you enjoy. If you love what you’re eating, and if you’re losing weight in the process, then you will not only lose belly fat but also keep it off.”
26. Eat gut-friendly foods
A healthy gut is essential for optimal health. Japanese healthy eating recommends eating diverse foods.
“The bacteria in your body is quite diverse, and your diet should be too,” She also says. “Grabbing five vegetables and several fruits a day is a great start.” Fermented foods are also important. Yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh are rich in lactobacilli, a bacteria that support your health, she adds.
27. Make it easy
If it isn’t convenient, it will make losing weight and belly fat more challenging. Have snacks that are easy to prepare or ready to go, like a banana and peanut butter or an apple and string cheese.
If you don’t have time to prepare meals, then cook several servings of a dish on Monday, eat it for lunch for the rest of the week or make a prepared recipe in under five minutes adds.
28. Ditch the artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners do not contribute to gut health and successful weight loss. These products upset the balance of gut bacteria favoring Clostridium and Enterobacteriaceae, associated with the disease. Instead, use monk fruit or natural honey for flavor.
29. Incorporate more prebiotics in your diet
Along with fermented foods, prebiotics is excellent for the gut. These are foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive system. These include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, barley, oats, apples, cocoa, flaxseeds, and wheat bran.
30. Make one change at a time
Taking small steps consistently is what leads to long-term results. “We can all make 100 changes to our lifestyle or our diets, but if you focus on too many at the same time, it will be challenging to keep up with them all. The biggest recommendation I can make is to focus on only ONE small change you want to make, master that by creating it into a new habit, and then pick your following small change.